Resorts Offer Fun in High Desert

The high desert of the Mojave and the low foothills of the San Gorgonio Mountains are the location of two dissimilar resorts popular with mature travelers both for individual and group tours.

The Inn at Silverlakes, just northwest of Victorville in the Mojave Desert, and Highland Springs at Beaumont are both members of the Senior Travel & Recreation Assn. of California (STRAC), an organization fostering more and easier travel and recreational possibilities for the mature traveler.

Silverlakes Inn, a striking two-story facility, is a 74-room spacious lodge in the heart of a well-laid-out residential development built around two of the last man-made lakes created in California. After a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and amid the Mojave Desert, the lake resort appears as a delightful surprise.

It offers 27 holes of golf, tennis, two pools plus spa and saunas, lake fishing and boating and other options such as horseback riding, cycling and entertainment on weekends, the latter geared mostly to mature adults.

Discounts Offered

"A good deal of our business is the mature traveler, both through tours as well as individuals," said Cora L. Scott, assistant manager. "We provide a 10% discount off our regular rates for those age 60 or older, and our senior group rate is even better."

Normal rates at Silverlakes are $55 per person, double occupancy, Sunday through Thursday; $10 more on weekends. The Sunday through Thursday rate includes a Golfer's Special of 18 holes of golf with cart and continental breakfast. For two nights/three days, with 36 holes of golf on a PGA-rated course, the cost is $90 per person, double occupancy, including tax and tips.

The senior group rate is $45 a day per person, double occupancy (no golf). Specially prepared and priced meals can be arranged. The inn's staff helps plan visits to nearby attractions of Calico Ghost Town, Roy Rogers Museum, Desert Mining Museum at Randsburg and such scenic locales as Apple Valley.

In cooperation with the Thunder Cloud Inn at Big Bear Lake, Silverlakes has a lake-to-lake excursion package for senior groups that provides transportation. For $95 per person, double, the package includes 1 1/2 days and one night at each of the resorts, two meals at Big Bear and three at Silverlakes, plus visits to Calico, Roy Rogers Museum, a boat cruise and other outings at Big Bear. Price includes tax, tips and luggage handling.

The dining room at Silverlakes serves buffet breakfasts and lunches. Dinners range from $6.95 for honey-dipped chicken to $14.95 for tourenedos Rossini with a range of Continental and American-style entrees in between.

Silverlakes Inn, which is also partially a time-share resort as well as a midweek business conference center, is 20 miles northwest of Victorville on Shadow Mountain Road.

More Than 100 Years Old

Highland Springs Resort, 88 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, in a scenic locale below 11,501-foot-high Mt. San Gorgonio, has been a vacation site since 1884.

Spread over more than 900 acres, the rambling resort is one of the few left in California still operating on the American Plan or, in these modern days, MAP, with brunch and dinner included in the daily rates.

Although it does not offer a senior discount on its daily rate, it does have an appeal to the mature traveler on weekends during the spring and fall when a no-children policy is in effect. It is family-oriented during summer. It has been called, not disparagingly, a laid-back California version of a Catskill's resort.

Regular daily rates range from $105 to $150 single, $125 to $170 double, including meals. The resort's 94 rooms vary from older but pleasant cottages to more modern lodges. All have air conditioning and refrigerator. All but a few lower priced rooms have tub and shower; others have just a shower.

The resort has a senior group rate of $62 per person, double, including meals and recreational facilities and entertainment.

"We also have a popular mid-week Grandparents Special," said Cathy Zilz, general manager. "Two grandparents pay the regular rate and any grandchildren, no matter the age, pay $10 a night when occupying the same room. We've had grandchildren in their 20s, and some great-grandparents, parents and grandchildren."

Highland Springs also offers many special weekend package plans and off-season rates.

Lured by Bing Cherries

"During cherry-picking time in early June," Zilz said, "we offer a special rate starting at $55 double Sunday through Thursday that doesn't includes meals. It's very popular with folks who come for the great Bing cherries for sale just minutes away."

The resort has a $10-per-room extra charge on some holiday weekends and $5 per room on several of what it terms Landlubber Cruise weekends. But this extra charge is generously offset by such extras as midnight buffets, wine-tasting parties and other bonuses.

Within its extensive grounds, filled with towering pines, are three tennis courts (two for night play), paddle tennis, large pool and spa, volley ball, croquet, Ping-Pong and horseshoes.

A par-3, nine-hole ($5) course is adjacent and there are three 18-hole golf courses within 20 minutes' drive.

"Of interest to mature travelers would be our Nostalgia Weekends," Zilz said. "Coming up July 29, its's the era of the '50s and '60s and on Aug. 19 nostalgia of the '40s and '50s. We're hoping to get the Drifters and the Ink Spots to star as they did last year."

There is plenty of general resort appeal right at Highland Springs and its wide recreational and entertainment activities. Another plus is its close proximity to both Cherry Valley and lovely Oak Glen, Southern California's largest apple-growing area.

Best Time Is Harvest

More than a dozen large orchards have shops or roadside stands offering tree-fresh Rome Beauty, Winesap and other varieties.

Best is fall harvest time although apples are on sale year around, along with fresh cider, apple butter, jams, jellies and other products. Area restaurants serve hot apple pie and delicious meals year around. Most are in Oak Tree Village, 20 minutes' drive from Highland Springs.

Spring blossom time, both in the apple orchards of Oak Glen and adjacent cherry valley, are also popular touring times for senior tour groups as well as individuals.

For more information:

Silverlakes Inn, 14818 Clubhouse Drive, Helendale, Calif. 92342, call toll-free (800) 228-7209.

Highland Springs Resort, Beaumont, Calif. 92223, call (714) 845-1151.

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